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Old 04-03-2008, 09:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Truckers

I don't know if its legit or not, being so close to april fools, but it does seem plausible. Supposedly independent truckers are striking to object to high fuel costs.

Semi's move the entire country along, so we can't go without them, but at the same time. Why not mock up some aero improvements that truckers might try? 6-12 MPG seems to be average semi mpg, which is actually pretty good considering its hauling enough weight to carry most of our cars.. With a 0.6 or more Cd, some aero improvements could go a LONG way...

Anyways, heres a quick sketch I made up, I dont know how practical it would be, but its just to get ideas rolling.



Obviously still a LOT of improvements to be made. Some design issues like the rear wheel skirts (attached to the front of the trailer) need to give way a LOT. As well has some sort of system to connect the cab/trailer aeroly while still giving play to allow for maneuvering and suspension work. Something like how train cars connected, except smooth would work. The rear boat tail would have to be inflatable or removable quickly, since the door is back there. Theres already air systems on trucks for the brakes, so I was thinking air might be a better idea anyway.

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Old 04-03-2008, 10:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Looks familiar:

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/03...irst-human-po/

But seriously, those mods you made look like they would really improve efficiency. Did you ever see the semi trucks on the Future Car series? I think yours would work better.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Check this out (scroll down). This is the work of Luigi Calani, the guy I was speaking about.

http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2006...gi-colani.html
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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With all due respect to Luigi, his design sucks. Way too busy, aerodynamically.

What's needed is a mold made off the nose and forward fuselage of a large modern jet transport aircraft of similar dimensions to the tractor of one of these trucks, say a C-141, a C-17, a Boeing 757, etc.. After all, the truck cab/cabin is typically a tilt-up rig that is often made of fiberglass. What we have now approximates the fluid mechanics of bricks stacked on bricks. Ungood.

Wheel pants/fairings, an articulated fairing between cab and trailer box, flow fences, Coanda devices, Sinha deturbulators (if they work) and/or vortex generators have all been shown to be major drag reducers for these big rigs.

As bad as even the best common rigs are aerodynamically, just a few of the simple mods would make major improvements in fuel economy. Pick off the low hanging fruit.

There is a fortune to be made in such simple aftermarket devices.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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IF we could redesign the containers too, we could make major improvements, and just make it look like the fueselage of a plane. But I dont see that happening with the billions already made to a certain standard. But with some bolt on stuff, there could still be a major loss in drag.
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Old 04-03-2008, 10:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by brucey View Post
IF we could redesign the containers too, we could make major improvements, and just make it look like the fueselage of a plane. But I dont see that happening with the billions already made to a certain standard. But with some bolt on stuff, there could still be a major loss in drag.
Yeah, lightweight fiberglass foils at the leading edges, flow fences, wheel pants, etc. could be done for peanuts. Removable and recyclable, they could be made for easy on-off application to any intermodal shipping box, for cheap. A few days at the aircraft boneyard in Tuscon could get you a decent set of fiberglass molds for the cab fairing.
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Old 04-03-2008, 11:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The cargo tends to be box-shaped.
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arminius View Post
The cargo tends to be box-shaped.
True that.


With all this talk of making 18 wheelers more efficient it makes me appreciate what we (as a society) will do to keep the hold on our normative ways of doing things.

To me, it's only a matter of time before we re-invest in rail infrastructure. Rail is SO much more efficient than individual trucks, it just takes that initial investment to get our rail system up to above 3rd world standards...
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Old 04-04-2008, 12:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Truckers

Well, Truckers tend to add-on things that reduce Cd:

Chrome air cleaners, 4" stacks, lighting accessories. Older, less aerodynamic designs like the Peterbilt classics are popular, but the "hanging fruit" is excessive "but manly "



Super-aero looking designs won't nearly be accepted by the trucking community let alone the car-driving public.

But the new Kenworth T660 looks promising:



Product Brochure. I think the aero mods look pretty cool.

Trailers -- well, first -- a fairing is a good first step: something adjustable, since the rear axle set often requires fore-aft movement for proper load distribution:



Next, the whole rig can save rolling resistance with single instead of dual wheelsets:



Green Car Congress Says...
Quote:
Replacing the standard two thinner tires per wheel with a single wide-base tire improves the fuel efficiency of heavy-duty tractor-trailer trucks and allows them to be made to run with more stability, according to studies by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
A lot can be done -- but money is super-tight with the independents right now. Large firms may be able to pull it off if they commit to it. Wal-Mart (shiver) is at the forefront of their fleet saving diesel -- bottom line stuff, IMO.

RH77

EDIT: I agree Andrew, rail is by far the most efficient. My Pops is a retired Railroad Engineer, so that has pretty much been a standing fact in the family forever. But, the rail companies focus on monopolizing markets, and being late in the game to emissions reduction. Intermodal is a growing trend -- seems efficient and engages all forms of transport.
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Last edited by RH77; 04-04-2008 at 12:45 AM.. Reason: Rail
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Old 04-04-2008, 01:01 AM   #10 (permalink)
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AndrewJ -

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewJ View Post
True that.

...

With all this talk of making 18 wheelers more efficient it makes me appreciate what we (as a society) will do to keep the hold on our normative ways of doing things.

To me, it's only a matter of time before we re-invest in rail infrastructure. Rail is SO much more efficient than individual trucks, it just takes that initial investment to get our rail system up to above 3rd world standards...
Funny you should say that :

Warren Buffett's New Train Set - 09.11.2007
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007...n_buffetts.php
Quote:
Green blogs give a lot of pixels to Vinod Khosla and his investments in solar and ethanol, but the man to watch in America is Warren Buffett. He famously sat out the last internet boom because he "didn't understand it" - he invests in businesses that he can see and touch and hangs in for the long term. Right now he is investing in railways. "He sees something in the rail industry that, over the next decade or longer, will make this an attractive investment," said an analyst. It might be that rail has a three to one fuel efficiency advantage over trucking and there is a shortage of truck drivers, or that railways are running leaner and more efficiently than ever before. It might just be a coal play, since most of it runs on rails. It certainly bodes well for the future of rails, the best hope for getting trucks off the road
Why Warren Buffett is buying railroads - March 20, 2008
http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/07/pf/sivy_apr.moneymag/
Quote:
Want to invest in a green industry that employs the latest technology, reduces U.S. oil consumption and is priced very attractively? Look no further than the railroads. Laggards for decades after the 19th-century boom ended, they're hot again.

"There was steady traffic growth until last year, and the trend looks good once the economy gets back up to speed," says Kenneth Kremar, an economist who follows the railroad industry for consulting firm Global Insight. Perhaps that's why railroad stocks have largely escaped the battering that other sectors have taken so far this year.

Of course, their business could still be hurt temporarily if the economy deteriorates further. But eventually, says Kremar, "we'll see a pickup in demand, especially in the kinds of commodities railroads carry."

Astute investors are climbing aboard. Warren Buffett has been loading up on shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe and was buying in January at prices only 13% below current levels. (News of his buying boosted the stock.) At last count, he owned more than 18% of the company.

CarloSW2

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